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Legal firm considers class action on travel voucher schemes

written by Adam Thorn | May 5, 2020
A file image of Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) Airbus A320 VH-YUD. (Rob Finlayson)
A Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) Airbus A320 VH-YUD. (Rob Finlayson)

Australian airlines may have breached legal obligations by offering travel voucher schemes that disadvantage customers, said Slater and Gordon.

The law firm is considering launching actions on behalf of tens of thousands of Australians who it said are being “short-changed” by airlines, travel agents and tour companies.

Slaters believes major travel providers have potentially breached their legal obligations by putting in place travel voucher schemes that significantly disadvantage their customers.

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According to Slaters practice group leader Andrew Paull, affected customers may be able to participate in a class action against their travel providers.

The firm has spoken with holidaymakers, he said, who “have been left thousands of dollars out of pocket and holding vouchers that they may never be able to use”, while others, he continued, feel they were forced to cancel ahead of airline announcements to get back a portion of their fares, only to be hit with hefty cancellation fees.

“We understand that everyone is doing it tough at present, including the major airlines and travel companies, but that doesn’t give them an excuse to take advantage of their customers. Nor is it acceptable for Qantas shareholders to treat the money it owes to ordinary Australians like its own,” Paull said.

Story by Jerome Doraisamy

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5 Comments

  • Peter

    says:

    Jetstar cancelled my international flights. Then told me there was no refund as my fare was a non refundable fare. After I jumped up and down they gave me a voucher for further use. I do not know if I will be able to use the voucher to travel in the future as my health is not good.

    • Horatio

      says:

      Peter, you agreed to purchase a ‘cheap’ NON-refundable fare.
      Your Ticket is a Contract, with the airline, therefore all Conditions must be met.
      You’ve been given a voucher for future travel. You’re lucky to get that against said non-refundable fare.
      Use it ASAP, when normal flying begins.

      If Tavel Insurance is applicable, in your health situation, did you take it out? If so, speak to your Insurance Company.

  • Jared

    says:

    Maybe consumers’ should read the ‘small print’ when they MAKE a travel booking, & then read ALL the information on their purchased tickets.

  • Mandy Kay

    says:

    Virgin International ticket purchased and they will only refund domestic vouchers.
    Why can’t they just give me a refund ?

  • Jacquelynn

    says:

    When I purchased a non-refundable flight, I was agreeing that if I cancelled, I wouldn’t get my money back. How is it fair that the airline can cancel my flight and not refund me? Our family vacation had to be cancelled because we couldn’t get to our destination (Sydney). Our non refundable hotel deposits were refunded with ease and so was our return flight through a different airline (also a non-refundable). Because they respected that we weren’t at fault and were willing to do the right thing. The only companies who wouldn’t refund were our travel insurance provider and Virgin Australia. So we paid travel insurance on a trip that we couldn’t take and they wouldn’t help with the loss of money to Virgin nor refund us for the policy we bought for travel we didn’t get to take.

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